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Debate on number of Departments premature – McLaughlin

19 January, 2009


Describing as premature today's Assembly debate on a reduction of government departments Sinn Féin MLA and Chair of the Assembly's Finance and Personnel Committee Mitchel McLaughlin said that he believed that it would be better taken in the aftermath of the roll-out of the reorganisation of local government (RPA).

Mr McLaughlin was speaking ahead of a motion put forward by the DUP at the Assembly today, calling for a reduction in the number of Government departments here.

Speaking this morning Mr McLaughlin said,

"I believe that today's motion is premature and would be better taken in the aftermath of the RPA.

"The proposal from the DUP for a debate on the configuration of Executive Departments is one that I believe needs to be taken but in the present economic climate I believe a more productive discussion would be on how best we could reduce duplication and replication of services on an island wide basis.

"For instance on this small Island we have two health systems, two education systems,two transportation systems etc. A sensible and more cost effective approach to this issue could see the releasing of millions of pounds that could be redirected to projects that would kick-start the economy across Ireland.

"Our Assembly and indeed the Oireachtas should be proactively looking at breaking down this costly situation and working to harmonise services across Ireland. I have no doubt that people would see the benefits of such a process and it would make real difference to people on the ground." CRÍOCH

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